Information for Patients
Meniere's disease is a disorder of the inner ear. It can cause severe dizziness, a roaring sound in your ears called tinnitus, hearing loss that comes and goes and the feeling of ear pressure or pain. It usually affects just one ear. It is a common cause of hearing loss.
Attacks of dizziness may come on suddenly or after a short period of tinnitus or muffled hearing. Some people have single attacks of dizziness once in a while. Others may have many attacks close together over several days. Some people with Meniere's disease have "drop attacks" during which the dizziness is so bad they lose their balance and fall.
Scientists don't yet know the cause. They think that it has to do with the fluid levels or the mixing of fluids in the canals of your inner ear. Doctors diagnose it based on a physical exam and your symptoms. A hearing test can check to see how it has affected your hearing.
There is no cure. Treatments include medicines to control dizziness, limiting salt in your diet, and taking water pills. A device that fits into the outer ear and delivers air pulses to the middle ear can help. Severe cases may require surgery.
NIH: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
- Ménière disease (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Ménière's disease - self-care (Medical Encyclopedia)
Ménière disease Ménière disease is a disorder of the inner ear that affects balance and hearing. This condition is characterized by sudden episodes of extreme dizziness (vertigo), a roaring sound in the ears (tinnitus), a feeling of pressure or fullness in the ears, and fluctuations in hearing. Episodes are often associated with nausea and vomiting, and they can severely disrupt activities of daily living.The episodes associated with Ménière disease generally last several hours. Studies suggest that episodes can be triggered by stress, tiredness (fatigue), emotional upset, illness, and dietary factors. The timing of these episodes is unpredictable; affected individuals may experience a cluster of episodes within a short period, followed by months or years without any symptoms.Ménière disease usually appears in adulthood, most often in a person's 40s or 50s. It is much less common in children and young adults. The symptoms of the disorder typically begin in one ear, although they may later involve both ears.Some people with Ménière disease have no symptoms of the disorder between episodes, particularly in the early stages of the disease. Over time, however, many affected individuals develop ongoing problems with unsteadiness, tinnitus, and a feeling of fullness in the ears. Additionally, permanent hearing loss eventually develops in many people with this disorder.